Saturday, April 17

Voting for life. Initial inquiry.

[The brief introduction to this exchange is posted on April 19 as VOTING FOR LIFE: PREAMBLE. The following was written from March 27 to March 30.]#1
Fanni says: The other day, I took the trouble to write you a short note and included a few articles relating to a study of public attitudes. Did you receive it? If so, I would like to know your opinion of the topic.

I have read the 23-page study and found it to be enlightening. [Jim Naureckas has described the study as follows: "The survey, by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, found that misconceptions about the Iraq war were closely related to what news outlets an individual relied on for information. And for each misperception studied by the research group, viewers of Fox News were the most likely to be misinformed."] Of course, no one would be as foolish as to claim that this study proves that Fox and CBS, for instance, are the cause of public misinformation in the US, or of the exceptionally high incidence of support in the US for what the rest of the world largely views as an unjust and terrorism-propagating war. For, it could be the case that viewers inclined to seek solace in pro-war info-entertainment and pro-military-industrial-complex politics simply find that their views are confirmed by these corporate-state outlets.

Bill O'Reilly certainly finds solace in the war machine he supports. As Jim Naureckas reported,
"In an October 4 interview with CNBC's Tim Russert, Fox News star Bill O'Reilly made a puzzling boast about his network's Iraq coverage. He said, 'Well, I think Fox News Channel was lucky because we were less skeptical of the war, and the war went very well. So we won.'"
How about you? Clearly the Pope was resolutely against the war in Iraq and even admonished Mr. Bush Jr. face-to-face before Bush gave the commands for the outbreak of violence. How do you harmonize your respect for life with the fact that tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq have been killed by our government on the basis of hyped-up, false, misleading charges and, at best, demonizing, fascist politics that pretend that, for instance, France and Germany and the UN were actually arguing FOR the regime of Saddam Hussein (which is the worst abuse of argumentation in international politics that I have heard since the days when Hussein's own disinformation campaign was still in full swing)?

I'm just curious where you are on this issue. As well as on the issue of our corporate-state media, call it liberal or conservative, fair, balanced or what-have-you.

If it is true that you support life, then, I wonder, have you given any thought to the fact that 10.5 million children under the age of 5 died from easily preventable diseases last year, and that the institution—the World Health Organization—that has the potential to prevent these diseases has been severely under-funded by the Bush administration? Does this sort of fact mean nothing to you? Or does it concern you? Or does abortion appear like the only life-and-death issue that is worth any trouble to you? And if so, why is this so? Do you generally resist seeing your emphasis on life in its broadest context and focus exclusively on the destiny of fetuses? If so, why?

Of course, Bush has done some fine posturing with respect to the issue of AIDS. However, even here, his record concerning human life is horrific. In addition to the undeniable impression that Bush is more concerned with securing drug company profits than providing cheap drugs for sufferers of AIDS the world over, consider that President Bush promised $3 billion per year over five years for the AIDS initiative while the White House's 2004 budget request ended up asking Congress for only $1.9 billion annually. But even that sum was a mirage, as it was partly based on a reshuffling of related accounts. For example, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, much of which is designated for Africa, received a $150 million cut from the previous year. Moreover, Congress mandated that even this money will not be spent unless the Europeans match the U.S. contribution. Immediate consequence: countless infant deaths that could have been prevented.

I expect you to respond by quoting the number of abortions worldwide and reminding me of how terrible they are. But I would only ask, would you ever be willing to take into consideration all the ways this "culture of life" president's policies lead to infant deaths worldwide? Or is that simply impossible for you to do? If so, why? And if you had convincing evidence that the president's policies were leading to more infant deaths than there are abortions in a given year, would you consider voting for someone who would seriously support preventive measures for infant health worldwide and generic drugs, even if that person did not seem socially conservative on the issue of abortion? If not, why not? Why is the fetus more important than the walking and talking infant? Or isn't it, to your mind? Is there no difference?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Robert says: I want to respond briefly to some of your questions. Whether we went to war on "hyped-up, false, misleading charges" is still really unknown. Those are the charges of Bush's political adversaries, but not yet proven.

As to the war with Iraq, I personally was ambivalent about doing it, primarily since it was the first time we had done a "preemptive strike."

Of course, I am not for killing innocent civilians, but there are such things as just wars, which the Pope felt Iraq was not. I believe one could argue that point, however, but the true facts to do that are still not totally known. (Hindsight is 20/20, and Iraq apparently did not have weapons of mass destruction which threatened us in an immediate way.)

The world is a complex place and one side is hardly ever 100% right and the other 100% wrong. Neither the French nor the Germans were completely free of ulterior motives in opposing the war, as I recall from various news stories. The French, I believe, had a large oil deal with Saddam that would be interrupted if another regime took over.

Regarding Bush's policies, I am not a Republican. I am a pro-life Democrat who votes for pro-life candidates. Many thing Bush and the Republicans do upset me, but without life, no one has any rights.

If the Republicans cut funds for foreign aid, I can (and do) give to charitable organizations that serve children and adults overseas. If the Republicans cut educational benefits at home, I can (and do) give to support education at home. But if pro-choice Democrats vow to continue the 31 year war against the unborn at home (as Kerry has done), currently with 3600 daily fatalities, and vow to extend it overseas through supporting abortion-promoting population control agencies (as Kerry has said he will do), and to continue the war on the unborn into the far future by appointing pro-abortion justices to the Supreme Court (as Kerry has vowed to do), I cannot bring anyone back to life, so I will vote for anti-abortion Bush.

We were all unborn human beings at one time. The unborn are real and they are here now. Their killing is direct and immediate. I cannot support someone who believes that the direct, immediate killing of innocent human beings, for any or no reason, should be a legal right.